Cybersecurity questions business owners need to ask

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, their need for effective cyber defenses grows as well. Having poor cybersecurity could result in cyberattacks and data breaches that disrupt operations, negatively impact sales, leak sensitive company and customer information, and violate their compliance obligations.

Unfortunately, many business owners and managers are not formally trained in cybersecurity and cyber risk management, making it difficult for them to assess their company’s cybersecurity posture. A great starting point for such assessments is asking your internal IT staff or managed IT services provider the following critical questions:

How is our critical data protected?

Many companies rely heavily on their data, so safeguarding it is of utmost importance. However, they generate and collect tons of information, and applying the same cybersecurity measures for all types of information would be expensive. Therefore, you need to classify the different types of data you have and rank them by level of importance. Doing so will help you establish appropriate security measures for various data classifications.

To help you identify your company’s critical data, ask the following questions:

  • Which types of data are most crucial to our operations?
  • What would be the impact if a type of data was lost, stolen, or improperly disclosed?
  • Do we handle certain types of data that have compliance requirements?

Afterwards, assess whether you have sufficient safeguards in place for your critical data by asking the following:

  • Where is critical data transmitted, used, and stored?
  • Who has access to critical data? Are there third parties involved?
  • How long should critical data be kept?
  • What security measures do we have in place to protect critical data? Are these measures compliant with our security obligations?

How do we back up critical data?

Data backups are crucial to ensuring that critical data can easily be retrieved and accessed even after a disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, fire, or cyberattack. This is why you must obtain the answers to the following questions on data backup:

  • How often do we back up critical data?
  • Where do we store data backups? On tape, disks, servers, and/or the cloud? On site and/or off site?
  • Are our data backups encrypted? What type of encryption do we use?

Related reading: Local backup vs. cloud backup: Which one should you pick?

What are the different layers of our cybersecurity?
Gone are the days when installing an antivirus program on your computer was a sufficient security measure. Today, companies need a multilayered approach to cybersecurity, which involves implementing several software solutions, physical security measures, and data and access management policies. Make sure you understand your company’s multiple security layers, how the different layers work together, and which threats are mitigated by each layer.

How do we monitor for suspicious activity?

Monitoring user activity is key to detecting and blocking unauthorized access attempts, brute force attacks, and other cyberattacks. Therefore, it is important to ask these monitoring-related questions:

  • Is user activity monitoring done by qualified personnel?
  • Are they monitoring users 24/7/365?
  • Are they leveraging intrusion detection and prevention systems or other automated monitoring mechanisms?

Do we know how to respond to cyberattacks?

Your company must have a documented plan that details how the organization will respond during and after a cyberattack:

  • Key people (and their backups, if they are unavailable) involved and their respective roles
  • Processes to ensure business continuity after an attack
  • Post-attack technical recovery measures
  • Steps that will be taken to determine the source and cause of the attack
  • Measures that will be taken to limit PR and financial damage

Make sure to test this plan regularly and update it based on the results of those tests.

Our IT security specialists at SpectrumWise have the expertise to help businesses answer these cybersecurity questions. With us at your side, you will stay protected from all kinds of cyberthreats. Schedule a consultation with us today.


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